Well to catch you up to where we are now let me start from the beginning. Daniel & I met at a Christian University in Alabama where we both attended right out of high school. Honestly he was & is “the one for whom my soul loves” & we have been smitten with each other for 16 years now. Daniel joined ROTC during college right after 9/11 & was commissioned just after graduation. We moved to Biloxi, MS to start building our life together & while there added 2 beautiful babies to our family (Charley, our daughter & Colin, our son) & lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. (I am only mentioning that because it will come back around on down the line in a future story in a bigger way than we initially realized) We then moved to England with the Air Force & were able to live MY lifelong dream of traveling the world…instilling inside the rest of my family the same soul-generated love of travel. You see when anyone asked me what my dream was as a child or as an adult it was always to have a family and TRAVEL. I love it. It is my passion. It fires me up like nothing else. I love to see new places with my own eyes. I love to behold the beauty of all of God’s creation. I want to see & do everything I can in this life. I never want to look back & regret the things we didn’t do, the chances we didn’t take & the places we didn’t go. In my life so far I have ONLY regretted all of those things that I did NOT do. Mark Twain speaks straight to who I am deep inside when he said “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
So back to England we visited country after country after country & I lived in an absolute dream world for 3 years & 27 countries 🙂 (so many more stories to come from that time too) THEN the military moved us back to the States. As much as I LOVE (deep in my soul & in the fabric of who I am kind of LOVE) our amazing country we were not ready to come back…there was still so much more to see. The day we left England was one of the saddest days of my life and as the plane took off I looked out the window and said out loud “This isn’t goodbye – it’s just see ya later. I will be back”. At that point I knew “one day” I would go back but if we were being honest finances were not in our favor. I really felt like my days of travel were being snuffed out before I was even 30 years old. We were moved to Stafford, VA right outside DC for the next 10 months and then swiftly on to the Florida Panhandle where we are currently stationed.
This duty station, location & time in our lives forever altered the course of our family’s future and the legacy we will leave behind when our time on earth is finished. It was here that my cousin Haley called and told me about her new business, how great she felt, how much she loved helping other people & that she thought I would be good at it too. I disagreed but agreed to look into it just to find the reasons why I COULDN’T do it. Those reasons were never found but I did find an overwhelming sense of “could this be the missing piece, that one thing I could be good at, that one thing without a name that Ive been praying for???” And….it was. Immediately it just “fit”…the culture, the people, the products, the financial opportunity, the life I had always thought was only for “those people” but never little old me from a small town in Alabama…it all just fit exactly into our lives like it truly was there the whole time. So much so we look back & wonder what in the world would we be doing right now, in this moment if we DIDN’T have our AdvoCare business??? I saw people living life their own terms, designing their life not just mindlessly going through their days. These people were HAPPY & FULFILLED & they were making a TRUE, SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE in the lives around them. THAT, that is what I craved…significance, fulfillment, certainty knowing what I wanted & where I was going. Those people were no longer SEARCHING. I longed for that.
I believe an entrepreneurial spirit and the adventurous spirit go hand in hand. I had never seen myself as someone who desired to be “a business owner” but because of traveling, experiencing & seeing the world I had developed a healthy love of risk taking, seizing the moment and trying new things. I knew I wanted “life on my terms” and would have told you that is where I was headed but I had just never put together that working FOR someone else & having “life on my own terms” were mutually exclusive & both could not simultaneously exist. So this epiphany lit the entrepreneurs inside us & we (my husband and I) embarked on a journey that we would never return from…because from that moment forward we were not the same people, we had changed from the inside out…more confidence, more courage, thicker skin, risk takers, book readers, wisdom seekers but most of all we were partners in this together for the good and the bad & that felt like HOME. No more his job & my job, his day & my day suddenly it was OUR LIFE that WE were designing.
So we worked really hard & the business took off because as business owners you control the speed. In the first year we retired myself from being a full time Massage Therapist, within the first 18 months we were able to pay off over 70K in debt, the 2nd year we matched Daniel’s active duty salary (that it took him over 10 years to build) with part time work & by the Grace of The Good Lord this last year, in our 3rd year, Daniel got the opportunity to make a decision all on his own to either stay in or come off active duty service. You see the decision was never his before, it was always controlled by our place in life, our finances, our fears, our insecurities, “our plan” that wasn’t really our plan, our lack of vision, our lack of dreaming….& our debt. Because we stepped out and said yes to US we started to dream, make goals, crush those goals & we found something deep inside us that we never knew existed – HOPE – for a better future for our family than the path we realized we were on. This is the quote I always go back to on how we were living our life:
“The most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” ~ Randy Komisar
The path we had been paving did NOT lead to what we wanted most out of life nor did it lead to a place where we could have ever “bought” that freedom. What we wanted most was more TIME together, more travels together & by together I mean our tiny little family of 4. Even if by some miracle one day we “struck it rich” our children would be long grown up & that dream would still be impossible. In that moment we started to proactively build our own preferred future instead of reactively & automatically building someone else’s just because that WAS “the plan”. Last October Daniel made the difficult decision to choose our own hopes and dreams over the career he thought he had always wanted in the military. (I must put in right here how AMAZING my husband is at his job & how the Air Force will most certainly miss his contributions because he is an INCREDIBLE leader that truly cares about making a difference) A decade ago that wonderful career was exactly what he wanted but if you really search your soul do ANY of us want the same things we did a decade ago? We change, circumstances change & life changes us. His decision came with a lot of revelations, choices we had never had & so much more freedom than we knew existed & it was SCARY (which funnily enough is how we knew we were finally on the right path & outside our comfort zone, “away from safe harbor” if you will). In starting to dream again we made an actual dream board, wrote out our bucket list & we started crossing them off one by one by one. From the very beginning we had one scribbled on the bottom of the sheet almost as an afterthought: “After retirement age 65 ish – buy an RV & travel around the country.” Little did we know because of all the events that had taken place that “dream” was closer than we realized.
Over the next few weeks we were trying to decide what to do after the military doesn’t dictate where we live. We knew we didn’t want to go home to Alabama (Roll Tide though!) because our adventurous spirits just wouldn’t allow us to go right back to where we started quite yet. We started throwing around ideas of where to settle down but the truth is we just didn’t know. One of the blessings and curses of the military is you have no control over that so why worry about it!?! You go where you are told & I am a big believer that you can be happy ANYWHERE if you have the right mindset and attitude, the reverse is also true if the mindset and attitude are all wrong. In throwing ideas & places against the wall to see if they stuck I said “Well we COULD just buy an RV, move into it, homeschool the kids & travel around the country for a year”. So….That is just what we did.
Ashley Peebles (who lives in a pimped out RV with her husband, 2 kids & 2 dogs…& has NEVER been happier)